Monday, December 15, 2014

The Fastest Latkes in the Midwest

This originally appeared on The Famished Freelancer on January 23, 2014.

Every time we visit my in-laws in Missouri for the holidays (i.e. right after Hanukah) we think, hey, we should introduce these goyim to the joys of latkes.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I don't get why Hanukah isn't the most popular holiday in the US. It's all about the fried food! Yes, I realize that non-Christians celebrating Christmas is about assimilation. But there is a Charles Dickens peace on earth version of Christmas that anyone can celebrate regardless of how they feel about the big JC. 

And, of course, our nation's history of anti-semitism means that some people view Jewish holidays as strange and mysterious. So I say we should bring Hanukah (or at least latkes) to the goyim in the interest of cultural understanding.

Anyhoodle, we haven't made latkes for the Missouri family until this year because they're a bit of a hassle to make, especially in someone else's kitchen. But this year, I was explaining that latkes are like Jewish hash browns and it hit me. 

In a world with a recipe for Thankgivingukkah latke balls, there has got to be a quickie recipe for latkes using frozen hash browns. Of course it was so, and we used this recipe

When you don't have to peel and shred the potatoes, making latkes is crazy easy. Of course, we made it in my mother-in-law's kitchen and since she doesn't really cook anymore, there were challenges. 

I went to dice the onion and discovered that there wasn't anything close to a sharp knife in her kitchen. I asked her for a chef's knife and she got it from the closet, joking that she doesn't let just anyone have a sharp knife. 

This was extra hilarious since I was fairly certain that someone who doesn't cook is going to have the dullest chef's knife evahs. I was correct in this assumption. Luckily, she also had a sharpening steel so I was able to dice the onion without risking life and limb.

We fried 'em up - forgetting to turn on the fan in the stove's hood which we didn't know was there so that the entire house reeked of fried potatoes. As did my hair well into the next day. Good times.

Then I instructed the family on my preferred latke-eating technique. Steal a latke from the cooling pile, hold it in a paper towel and eat up. That's how I ate them as a child and I still think it's way better than on a plate. Latkes taste even better if Mom is still making them and doesn't notice that you've stolen five already. And apple sauce a sour cream are for amateurs, I mean traditionalists. 

And they tasted just fine even though making them didn't involve hours of peeling and shredding. I may even make them again before the Winter is over. The Maccabees would totally be on board with celebrating the Super Bowl with latkes, right?

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